UFOs and Bats

What draws one to Roswell, NM? For us it was the UFO Center of North America. We definitely want our photo with little green men. But first, we perused the town to see what else is there. The first thing I noticed while approaching town, was a huge military transport, C-128 (?).. four jets on each wing. Sure enough there is a large Nation Guard base. Farther into town we passed the UFO Center and encountered the very large New Mexico Military Institute that covers at least a six-block square.
Moving on, we decide to check out the Visitors Center and Museum. Beside the “real” scoop on the UFOs, we got our photo taken with a couple of aliens.

We also learned that, although the crash happened in 1947, the Aliens did not appear in the stories until 1974! I rather suspect that if all evidence of the weather balloon crash had not been moved to “Area 57” in Nevada where it became top-secret, there never would have been a stories of little green men.
We also learned that this was the home and workshop of Dr. Goodard, of space travel fame. It was here that he developed his liquid fuelled rockets… to the terror of local cows. His wife was the cinematic recorder of his experiments. After he died, she donated his workshop to the museum, where it has been re-assembled.
Just a few blocks behind the Visitor Center was located a German POW camp. I had no idea that there were any POW camps within the USA.
On the way back through town I had to get a photo of this unusual McDonald’s… shaped like a UFO and sporting a strange reader board.

We planned our two adventure trips around the weather. Since yesterday was to be mild-to-warm, we did outdoor things. Today was to be cool with winds gusting to 50 mph, so we went underground.
However, the sun rose to a very calm morning.

But we decided to go to Carlsbad Caverns anyway, By the time we arrived the wind was indeed 50 mph, making visibility about one mile with the blowing dirt and spattering of rain. So, it was good to get 750 ft. below all the weather.

We opted for the cheap tour… self-guided audio tour. It was a one mile walk around the Great Room.

We had just started the walk when Evelyn encountered this monster with the flaming eyes.
I think that I’ve been in prettier caves, but this beats anything that I’ve seen size. This Great Room would easily accommodate four Boeing 747’s end to end. At one point one could stand a football field on end and not reach the ceiling.
To climb to this upper-most ceiling, they attached a loop of rope to a helium balloon and snagged a stalagmite that was growing on a ledge, slipped the knot tight and sent up the only guy who couldn’t say, “NO!”
I really don’t think that they sent a crashed spaceship to Area 57 though, because we found it in this Great Room, slowly being encased in minerals.

This trek used to be a guided tour and at this point, the guide would turn out all the lights. Then he would start the group singing “Rock of Ages” as a single light was slowly turned on.

This is no longer done… “For safety reasons…” Or maybe this beautiful formation no longer represents the Rock of Ages in the minds of visitors, or the guides no longer know the song!


Joplin, MO

“No individual has any right to come into this world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.” G.W. Carver

This from the ground of the George Washington Birthplace Memorial just south of Joplin, MO. He dedicated a life of trying to make something useful out of other people’s junk and trash. In fact he may have been the one who STARTED recycling.

I used to read stories of his life and work and he was one of my favorite characters. But, it didn’t dawn on me, until walking around in this museum, where I must have gotten my love for picking through other people’s junk and trying to make something useful out of it. Another trait that we share is a love for rescuing flowering plants and trees and relocating them to whatever real estate that I happen to occupy.


We enjoyed Christmas Dinner with Lew and Melody Jarman, in the home of Joe and Jane Sheller, who we met while working at Amazon. Sheller brothers and sisters, kids and grandkids made us feel right at home.
Feeling lucky after we got back to the coach in the Casino parking lot, we drifted toward the penny slots. The first night we lost a total of $15, tonight it was $8. so much for the “Free” parking at a casino! On the other hand, at 17 degrees at night and all three of our electric heaters going, maybe we still came out ahead.


We got an “early” start about 9 AM. Being used to sleeping during the day, I had a hard time staying awake while driving. I finally had to give it up for little wink time about 2:30 PM. We arrived at the Texoma Recreational Area, a man-made lake straddling the Texas / Oklahoma border just before sundown.


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! Forty-nine years she has tolerated me… and loved me in spite of me. For forty-nine years she has proven time and again how tough and tender a woman can be. She has been more than worth the bride-price I gave for her.

Part of our westward shuffle has taken us to the little town of Strawn, TX. That’s about half-way between Ft. Worth and Abaline, a couple of miles north of I-20.

This town was founded by a cattleman, Stephen B. Strawn, the son of the fellow who founded Strawn, KS. It reached the height of prosperity during the early 1900’s with the discovery of oil in 1917. At a current population of 694… down several thousand from its prime, it easy to see why the most prosperous businesses are the First National Bank and two mortuaries.

My grandfather had a sister, Bessie (Strawn) Williams who lived with her family in this town for a number of years. I found a donation brick in front of the museum that bore the names of Chuck and Vickie Williams. They are probably related by the shirt-tail to me.

Tonight we have stopped at an RV park for water and laundry just west of Sweetwater, TX. Touted as, “The Home of the World Largest Rattlesnake Roundup.”

12-24-2010 Leaving Kansas

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Leaving Kansas
Coming Out
Returning to Retirement
A whole segment of our life has passed in the four months since I last visited these pages. We applied for a seasonal job with Amazon.com, and were assigned a job at their Coffeyville, KS Fulfillment Center. We spent 5 weeks getting here, just doing the “Tim Conway Shuffle,” enjoying the country.
We stopped in Stapleton, NB at the site of the extinct Lariat Boys Ranch. This is where I found my second teaching job out of college. I say extinct, because only two homes are left of the complex of four homes, a two-room school, two shops, several barns and out-buildings. Gone are the grazing lands… all ploughed under and growing corn. Gone also, is the SDA church in North Platte that we attended. Gone also, the quaint little hospital where our second daughter, Anita was born. In its place we found a huge complex covering several block.
It is really sad to see how much things have changed in forty-five years. The facilities to care for people’s temporal bodies expanded, but facilities to care for their spiritual needs have withered and died.
Our return to the workforce has been a consciousness-raising experience.
“Do you realize that this is the longest term of manual labor that I have ever encountered in my lifetime?” Evelyn moaned last night as she headed for bed.
“But don’t you remember all those years of housekeeping and raising babies?” I queried.
“Never was this hard! And certainly not so steady. Beside, I could take a break when I needed it. At Amazon we break when they tell us to.”
“Well there’s the money… you can forget that?” I offered cheerily.
“Yes, there’s the money… it better be worth it!” she slurred as her eyelids smacked shut for the night.
“Sweet Alaskan Dreams,” I whispered.
The countdown is a matter of hours now, until we’re on our way again.
Arugh! I was interrupted in the writing of this account, then had to go to work. About 3 hours into the work period, I was asked if I’d like to make this my last shift, instead of Thursday night. I light of the expected coming ice storm I said, “Why not?”
While Evelyn went to work, I began getting things tucked away for travel. Sure enough, on Evelyn’s shift, she was given the same choice, so she got back about 10:30.
We arrived at the Downstream Indian Casino, near Joplin, MO, about 3 pm. For joining their “Q Club” we get to park in their lot for three days free.
Free is nice but, of course we had to go in and try out their nickel slots… so much for FREE! The first night cost us $15.
When Evelyn started up her Wii this morning she got a confetti parade. It startled me. I couldn’t figure out what it was all about. We had played Wii bowling last night, and I thought it was telling her she was a champion bowler (she beat me by one point).
It’s her BIRTHDAY! Happy 69th, Huggy.

For those of you who don’t already know, I do several photo essays per month  on my photo site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnybud 
The photos in the Photostream are not always in the correct order, so Click on the Albums to the right side of the page to get the intended order. Then, by scrolling through the pictures individually you’ll be able to read my comments. The Christmas Character Album is a glimpse at my rare humor.
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